Everyone assumed the college football season would be choppy and that has been the case for both Tennessee and Auburn as they resume play after multiple weeks off. Can the Vols end their four-game skid?
Tennessee Volunteers vs. Auburn Tigers
Saturday, November 21, 2020 – 7:00 PM EST at Jordan-Hare Stadium
Tennessee has played once in the last four weeks and that was two weeks ago. Auburn has not taken the field to play a game since Halloween. And we’re supposed to figure out how to make college football picks knowing that! Yes, we are.
Tennessee got off to a 2-0 start and it appeared coach Jeremy Pruitt’s team had turned a corner and was on the way to respectability and bringing the program back. However, since, the Volunteers are 0-4 SU and ATS and talk radio in Tennessee has any number of people on their airwaves who feel they would make a better coach than Pruitt.
Auburn avoided a three-game losing streak thanks to officials blowing a call against Arkansas and have won their past two times played and look to get back in a groove with the Iron Bowl up next.
Betting websites like GT Bets gave out Auburn as 11-point favorites with a total of 50.5. Who has the best chance to beat the college football odds?
Tennessee Scouting Report
This past Monday, coach Pruitt discussed the quarterback situation for Tennessee. Regular starter Jarrett Guarantano returned to practice Sunday, officially out of concussion protocol. The senior has been ineffective, throwing bad interceptions, and has lost his confidence. The concussion will be either a time to reflect and move forward or have him lose his job.
Pruitt said his other three QB’s all showed positives in practice. In attempting to understand coach-speak, it seems freshman Harrison Bailey might get the nod, seeing he’s the future of the program.
Though it’s a hopeless cliché, the Vols had zero turnovers in posting a 2-0 record and have 10 miscues during the current losing streak. That’s where any turnaround starts.
The Tennessee offensive line has to open more holes on early downs to keep the offense working on third and shorts. The passing game has 382 total yards in the last three games. It’s safe to say, the mid-range pass is out. Pruitt’s offense should either throw short safe throws or go deep outside the hash marks trying to hit big plays.
On the defense, stopping the run is priority No. 1 after permitting 187 yards a game during this losing streak. Force opponents, especially this one, into third and longs, and good things could happen.
Auburn Scouting Report
This part of the Auburn report could boil down to two words and that would cover it. Really. It’s actually a name and it is Bo Nix.
If the sophomore quarterback is under control, trusts what he see’s and stays within the offense, Auburn will win, as they have this season against four opponents.
When Nix gets a little rattled, he falls apart quicker than a cheap Swedish-made table, as he did against Georgia and South Carolina, both Tigers defeats.
The key aspect for Nix is he needs to find a rhythm quickly in games. His offensive coordinator Chad Morris has to not only determine what plays to run but send out the ones that his still young QB can execute when he feels under duress.
Coach Gus Malzahn has a team that plays in the moment and each series of offense and defense can be an emotional roller coaster for this group. For this matchup and the rest of the season, Malzahn has to get his squad on an even keel. This is far from the most talented outfits he’s had, but they could win this encounter and still have a very good season.
What Side Should You Be Looking At?
This SEC encounter comes down to whether the teams are mentally and how they react to in-game circumstances.
The Vols are scuffling. Whoever starts at quarterback has to set the proper tone for the orange and white and if they do, Tennessee can stay within striking distance.
If Nix starts hot as he has in recent contests, that would bode well for Auburn, especially playing at home. If the Tigers build an early lead and generate a turnover, Vols players could well go into – Here We Go Again mode. This doesn’t seem like a stretch for this to occur.
Though this might not be one of our best bets this week, this is a solid play. Besides, Auburn is 18-9 ATS after scoring 42 points or more and 9-2 ATS vs. poor ball control teams, with 28 or fewer possession minutes a game. Be patient and see if this maybe falls to -10, otherwise, fire if you like.